Reducing the cost of GMP compliance audits

Advances in technology enable reduced auditing costs by performing compliance audits remotely.

While remote audits in the time of COVID-19 are more of a necessity than a choice, doing an audit remotely can result in significant financial savings, reducing cost and eliminating unnecessary travel hours that can be used for more productive purposes. Just consider how much time and expense you personally have saved working remotely. No time wasted commuting with less fuel and auto expenses. And with that, has your productivity been significantly impacted? Probably not!
Now consider, what is limiting the same approach being applied to auditing?
Facility Tour
Advances in technology allow for comprehensive facility tours to be conducted using Virtual Reality like 360-degree cameras. The cost of implementing this is now completely achievable with a smartphone-sized camera. This advancement makes the live stream of a facility tour a reality. The fact that it is a live stream is appealing to the Audit Site because there is NO Video recording. When the tour is over it’s only a memory in the Auditor’s head, just like being there!

The obvious advantage of performing audits remotely is the savings from eliminating travel-related expenses. Expenses add up quickly. The cost is variable depending on the distance, time, and planning. A two-day audit could easily add up to over $3,000.00 even if you are trying to be frugal.

Procedures and Records
The next challenge is visibility to site-specific Procedures and Records. While an audit site may be perfectly willing to share some documents with an auditor in a cloud storage application such as Dropbox, there are limits. It certainly is going to depend on the relationship that exists between the two parties. These relationships already involve confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, so what’s the problem? Often the audits are performed by 3rd party experts who the Audit Site may have no experience with and don’t trust yet. So, here again, we can leverage technology to enable viewing without the fears related to downloading, printing, or even the difficult to limit, ‘screen captures’. Today’s Digital Rights Management applications can, and do, protect the assets and intellectual property of many organizations. These applications can be deployed for site audits as well, in a very cost-effective manner.
Interviews with staff
Final Challenge! The interviews with site staff. This is a literal no-brainer. With the pervasive use of Secure Web Conference software your interviewee could be anywhere. They no longer have to be in the conference room at the time of the Audit. If it's a line supervisor or manufacturing floor staff that you would like to interview, a direct feed via live stream or simple video conference link via smartphone could suffice for the interview. Your HR department has already been conducting interviews like this over the past several months.
Now let’s put it all together!

Imagine reducing the travel time from flying across the country to however long it takes to open a laptop and log-in.

Compare the unique benefit of remote auditing – the possibility of multiple audits within a much shorter time period than it would normally take to do them in-person. Now the technology is cost-effective enough to virtually be in two different places almost at the same time. Using a remote audit platform you can do an audit in Pennsylvania in the morning, and then do another one in San Diego after lunch.

The main objection to performing remote audits in lieu of in-person audits is the opinion that nothing replaces being there in-person. While that may have been true in the past, you now have to consider the way technology can create a very close connection, especially if you take advantage of the right technology.

Unfortunately, when most people talk about remote auditing they make it sound remarkably easy. In fact, they suggest getting an auditee to download a video conferencing app like zoom or skype to their phone and use that to show you around the plant – that’s not exactly the “right technology.”

We understand why auditors are skeptical. They’re putting their reputation and livelihood on the line. To “do-it-right,” at the very least, use a purpose-built platform that’s designed to get as close to being there as possible. That’s not cheap, but it’s less expensive than flying and it’s much, much less expensive than losing a client because of inferior technology and the perception that you’re not professional enough.

Performing remote audits can save money, and increase productivity, currently, and in the future!

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Best Practices: Remote Auditing
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The RACK - Complete Remote Audit solution in one easy to use platform
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